By Phil Hecken
Uni Watch readers are (hopefully) familiar with the tremendous posters created by Anthony Zych, whose work was featured by Paul both on the Uni Watch blog, and then later in a feature article/interview on the mothership back in the fall of 2015. If you’re not familiar, please take a couple minutes to revisit those.
A few weeks ago, at a Uni Watch Gathering in Brooklyn (a meetup of UW and Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos folks), Anthony Zych was present and we spent a long time catching up. He’s not only a very talented artist, but he’s also a uniform concepter! Anthony mentioned to me he’d done some mockups for the Columbus Blue Jackets, and immediately I asked if he’d like to share those and give the readership an update on his doings since those 2015 articles. In the words of the immmortal Marty DiBergi of Spinal Tap fame, “I got that; I got more… a lot more. But hey, enough of my yakkin’; whaddaya say? Let’s boogie!”
Anthony has been busy since the fall of 2015, and in fact, now works with the New Jersey Devils. I’ll get to that in a moment, but lets get straight into his uniform concepts:
Uni Watch: We’re all familiar with (and LOVE) your Columbus Blue Jackets posters, but you mentioned to me at the Gathering you have done some CJB concepts. Are you cool with showing them to the readers?
Anthony Zych: Folks at work don’t have an issue with you posting them since they’re unrelated to the Devils and were just personal concepts for the Jackets.
UW: Great. Let’s look at those, and then I’ll ask you to give us a bit of a dsecription.
(For all images below, you can click to enlarge)
UW: Wow! That’s a LOT better than they currently look. How did you come up with those, and what was the thought process behind the look?
AZ: I had always wanted to imagine what the Blue Jackets would have looked like had they existed back in the early part of the 1900s, ideally in the 1920s/30s. Here’s my thought process and how I came up with this fictional design. While I was working on/studying figure drawing in some off time, I was looking over Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man drawing to work on properly drawing proportions. I had looked at the drawing and noticed how people have five points, like a star, with our arms, legs and head.
UW: This one, yes?
AZ: Yes. I thought it would be cool to try and use that as a template to design a jersey off of based around the CBJ logo of the flag wrapping around the big star. The blue triangle of the flag is the primary blue for the jersey while the roads/waterways stripes of the flag wrap around the chest. The shoulder patch is the red disc with the white circular “O” that is surrounded by the stars on the flag.
UW: As I mentioned to you at the Gathering, I absolutely love the Ohio flag. So unique.
AZ: I wanted to try and keep as many elements from the flag as possible in the design so that it would be recognizable and not need excess explanation. I wanted the jersey to exude Ohio pride. I also thought it would be a clever way to further the brand of the team in the public with the thought that if this were a jersey that were actually produced, then every person that could purchase and wear the jersey would be a walking Blue Jackets logo.
UW: KISS (“Keep It Simple…”).
AZ: I kept the front of the jersey simple with just “Columbus/Blue Jackets” emblazoned across the chest rather than designing a logo. No major explanation or secret hidden elements in the design… I just wanted to design a simple, classic jersey that promoted civic pride for the city and the state.
UW: Awesome. The team could switch to those tomorrow and I don’t think too many folks would regret the change.
OK, I mentioned at the top of this that you’re now with the Devils, and they were cool with me posting your CBJ concepts. How many folks have actually seen these before?
AZ: Those concept jerseys have never really been seen by many people. Couple people inside the offices of CBJ saw them, but just like the posters, they weren’t necessarily received in the most positive light.
UW: Their loss. OK, can you let us know what you’ve been doing since last we “heard” from you on UW?
AZ: As far as filling in the gaps… Between November and now, there were certainly the many posters that I had created for CBJ, but I also had the chance to do a couple posters for NBC during the NFL playoffs for the Vikings/Seahawks game and the Packers/Cardinals game. Outside of the work on posters, any other gaps would have been filled visiting my girlfriend in Brooklyn and applying to an absurd amount of jobs in an attempt to get out there.
UW: Let’s have a look at those posters, shall we? Click to enlarge…
UW: Another “wow” — I really love that old-school feel of the Cards/Green Bay Poster!
So, back to the present…
AZ: As far as my work with the Devils and what I’ll be doing, my new title there is Jr. Art Director. The one thing I can guarantee I’ll be doing is a game day poster for a Jackets/Devils game. Jackets were the only team that was never on the opponent side of a poster, so I’ll have to make sure it’s something good.
UW: Looking forward to that! Anything else you can share?
AZ: As far as anything else, I’ll tell you the same here as I’ve said elsewhere, and that’s that I’m going to be pretty tight lipped about anything we may be working on. I never divulged much of anything at CBJ other than a handful of hints about some posters, so I’ll keep the same game going on with the Devils. Outside of that, once I’m set up in my own place I’m going to start working on some things on the side unrelated to hockey. No timetable officially, but I’ll want to try and get a few things out this summer.
UW: Understood! Anything else you’d like to add?
AZ: I wanted to point out something about the concept I had mentioned last Wednesday when we were talking. The concept is rather similar to the Lake Erie Monsters “Cleveland” jersey, and I wanted to relay that similarities are out of coincidence. I had never seen that jersey until it was unveiled and that was after I already had gotten my concept down on paper. Not making it a matter of it was “my idea first” or “they took my idea” because it just wasn’t anything like that.
UW: No worries. Would you like to design hockey uniforms in the future, or is this just a funzie-type thing?
AZ: Even though this was just a concept I did for fun (didn’t even host it publicly on my website until the posters took off because I never really thought it’d be something people would see), I like to think I go about things with a very thorough process because I do want to do this some day (design a real jersey). So the better I can be now about documentation and showing proper research and evolution of a design, the better prepared I am for if I ever really get to design one somewhere, be it in hockey or not.
UW: Fantastic. Anthony, thanks so much and glad things are working out with the Devils. I’m sure I’ll have more from you in the not-too-distant future!
“Leo’s World” is a new, semi-recurring feature here on Uni Watch weekends, featuring some excellent uni-related finds from Leo Strawn, Jr.. Each installment will feature a new, unique or just very cool collection of related uniform observations and research. You can click any images below to enlarge. — PH
Paul Brown and the First Cincinnati Bengals Game
By Leo Strawn, Jr.
In the year my dad was born, 1941, Paul Brown was coaching his first season for THE Ohio State University and lost only one game (to Otto Graham and Northwestern). The following season the Buckeyes were AP National Champions.
The AAFC began play in 1946 with Brown coaching the Cleveland Browns. In the league’s four seasons, Cleveland won every title with an overall record of 47-4-3. After joining the NFL, he coached the Browns to titles in 1950, 1954 and 1955. In his first ten years as a pro football coach, his Browns played in their league championship each season, winning seven times.
Not surprisingly, from 1946 to 1968, the entire state of Ohio was Cleveland Browns territory in pro football, just as it is home of the Buckeye nation in the college ranks. Brown had been fired by Art Modell after the 1962 season, a move that angered Brown and, after some time away from football, he worked to create an Ohio rivalry with the Browns. The timing was perfect due to the upcoming merger and Cincinnati was granted the final AFL franchise in 1967, to begin play in 1968 with the merger just two seasons away.
I was in grade school at the time. My dad immediately became a Bengals fan because of Paul Brown’s return to football and, though I wasn’t aware of the extent of his legacy at that age, I followed suit.
Which brings me to Christmas last year. I bought my dad a copy of the August 12, 1968 issue of Sports Illustrated with Coach Brown on the cover. I thought it would be a cool gift, but I didn’t expect the treasure that was included within the featured article.
The story revolved around Brown’s time away from and return to football and the events leading up to the first ever Bengals game, a 38-14 preseason loss to KC at Nippert Stadium in front of 21,682 fans on August 3, 1968. And SI came through with two amazing photos from that inaugural Bengals game.
This one shows QB John Stofa being rushed by the Chiefs defense. Stofa was acquired from Miami and signed by Coach Brown in December 1967 to become the very first Cincinnati Bengal. Stofa returned to Miami the following season and would play one season in NFL with the Fins in 1970.
The second game pic features two Cincinnati players who apparently never made the cut because neither #32 nor #33 were on their 1968 regular season roster, though it’s likely #32 is Solomon Brannan, who scored the first touchdown in Bengals history that day. Brannan, who had previously played in KC and for the Jets, would never again play in the AFL, nor ever in the NFL.
Aside from the obvious historical significance, these photos are also uni-noteworthy because there are no NOBs for either team (which was common in AFL preseason) and the Chiefs have no sleeve stripes while pairing white jerseys with white pants. Preseason 1968 was the last time they would wear white pants with white jerseys until 1989. (The following preseason would be the last time KC would sport jerseys without sleeve stripes until the 1994 preseason.)
Not only am I glad I bought that issue because of those fantastic photos of the Bengals inaugural game, but more importantly, it may be one of the most appreciated Christmas gifts I’ve ever gotten for my dad.
Our Fathers In Uniforms…
Next weekend is Father’s Day and as I have in the past, on this special day I will be running photos and stories (with some great memories) of our Dads in Uniform.
I’m again inviting readers to submit a photo (or photos) of their father (or even grandfather) in uniform, along with a short description of him in that uniform. It doesn’t need to be sports-related — it could be a trade or military uniform. I’ll collect the stories over the coming week and run them next Sunday, which is Father’s Day.
Please send your submissions to me at Phil.Hecken@gmail.com, along with an attached (or inline) photo (or photos), and a brief description of your dad in his uniform. Please put as the subject line “Father’s Day Uni”. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, June 16th.
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it, back on Monday, Paul took a Uni Watch look at Muhammad Ali. His weekly Friday Flashback column on ESPN expands upon that, with a closer look at Ali’s trunks, footwear, and the amazing rhinestone-studded robe he wore for his 1973 bout against Joe Bugner (shown above), which was made for him by none other than Elvis Presley.
Great read, so be sure to check it out if you didn’t catch it on Friday!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Looks like our friend Coleman Mullins has found an old Houston Astros
Frisbee flying disc for the low low price of Curtis James Jackson, III. … Kenta Maeda Dodgers “RED (Carp’s color)” T-shirts (by Majestic) is released only in Japan (from BigDaddy45). … CROSSOVER ALERT! Gordie Howe, first baseman, 1951Saskatoon 55s (from Pete Woychick, also posted in the hockey section). … CROSSOVER ALERT #2! Here’s Pro Golfer Jordan Spieth in a “Heroes Foundation Celebrity” baseball uni (from Ryan Bucher, also posted in the Grab Bag Section). The Heroes Foundation is a non-profit initiative bringing sports training and competition to children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. … It was Zombie Night last night for the West Michigan Whitecaps (h/t Minor League Promos). … Here is just a tremendous photo of Mudcat Grant, in a classic Cleveland uni (from Sports Paper). … Here’s some more looks at those mono-black unis worn by the Iron Pigs Friday night. … The Visalia Rawhide wore these cow-faced jerseys last night (from OT Sports). It was, um…”Dairy Night.” … Also from OT, and possibly as frightening, are these “Cereal Night” jerseys for the Battle Creek Bombers. … Our pal Clint Richardson has done a Women’s College World Series uni wrap. … While some of MLB players have taken advantage of the new accents for NOBs, not all have (from Glen Macklin). Also, I don’t want to presume that every player with the last name “Perez” uses an accent. … The Lafayette Aviators will have an auction today on these pirate-themed jerseys (h/t Forster Keenoy). … Check out Rollie Fingers ”” er, Daniel Mengden on the mound for the A’s (from our own Alex Hider). Here’s another look (from MLB). … Yesterday was “Star Wars” Day in Milwaukee so this happened (from Megan Brown). … Are these the worst baseball uniforms of all time? If your answer is anything other than “Yes,” please delete your account (from Andrew Stone). Those unis, btw, are the “Irish Hills Leprechauns” of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. … Some pretty stylish socks were sported yesterday by the Dodgers’ KikÃ© HernÃ¡ndez (from Beachball Killer). … “The White Sox auctioned off a spot in the 2016 team photo,” says Mike Chamernik. “The winning bidder and a friend get to put on a jersey and hat and sit in with the team.” He adds, “I have a prediction: Not today, not tomorrow, but maybe 25-50 years from now, fans will be able to pay to have their name engraved on the Stanley Cup. Slippery slope at its finest.” … We’ve seen this before, but since I was watching yesterday’s game, I noticed this Brewers jersey quirk too: Gene Sanny writes “I’m not even sure what I’m seeing here. Is it an extension of the gold so when the jersey fluffs out some it still looks like there’s some gold connecting the letters when viewing it more from the front? Whatever it is, it looks strange from the side like this :)” … Is it possible that Chris Archer has finally mastered the art of the stirrup (from Jordan Mayblum). If you recall, he’s had trouble keeping the loops in his shoes before. … Apparently yesterday was the Diamondbacks’ “Native American Recognition Day” (from Joey Pants).
Hockey News: CROSSOVER ALERT! Gordie Howe, first baseman, 1951Saskatoon 55s (from Pete Woychick, also posted in the baseball section).
NBA/Basketball News: With the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers will be adding StubHub
sponsor advertiser patches for the 2017-18 season, the floodgates have now opened to jersey ads. This article speculates on jersey sponsors ads for the Orlando Magic. … In Gatorade’s new commercial for their Frost line of drinks, Dwyane Wade uses two different uniforms: the all white one from a couple years ago with the NBA logo still on the left shoulder, and the current one which is on the back (good spot by Tanner Liby). … Following up on yesterday’s ticker item(s) poking fun at Steph Curry’s new shoes, Steph himself defends them (thanks, Paul). … Saxon Brack notes his Old Navy in Arkansas is selling Vancouver Grizzlies merch. He’s not entirely certain why.
Soccer News: Rangers FC (a football club in Glasgow, Scotland) have released a new 2016-17 home kit (from Tim Cross). … The mother of Taulant and Granit Xhaka has a split t-shirt. First siblings to face each other at Euro 2016 (h/t Ben Isaacs). … The Tweeter makeamericatrillagain points out that Carlsberg is an official sponsor of #EURO2016 but can’t advertise in France, the host nation. … It’s not the first time this has happened (from Holy Calamity). … Related to the previous: When Wales were sponsored by Brains beer they got very cute playing in France (h/t Josh Gardner). … England has some real nice warmup jerseys for Euro 2016 (from Frank Nevanen).
Grab Bag: The Wests Tigers wore sky blue socks against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in their Round 14 National Rugby League match this weekend (from Graham Clayton). … CROSSOVER ALERT! Here’s Pro Golfer Jordan Spieth in a “Heroes Foundation Celebrity” baseball uni (from Ryan Bucher, also posted in the Baseball Section). The Heroes Foundation is a non-profit initiative bringing sports training and competition to children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. … “And the ongoing Alexander Rossi Livery Story,” writes Tim Dunn. “He’s now got sponsorship from Castrol”¦for Texas only. Would be nice for a good American company to put up some year-round sponsorship dollars for the American Winner of the Greatest Spectacle in Motorsports.” … Here’s an interesting local take on a “Quiet” sign for golf.
And that’s all for today. Big thanks to Anthony and Leo. Great stuff guys.
Only received ONE submission for Father’s Day yesterday, so dig deep for pics of your pops in unis, peeps!
I’ll catch you guys next weekend, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Having seen a chunk of both Russia/England and Paraguay/USA, could we take up a collection to buy Nike’s designers one-way tickets to Yemen?”
— Denver Gregg